During his first flush of activity after taking over as minister of environment and forests with independent charge in ’09, most activists raised a toast to Jairam Ramesh. Today it’s a different story. The minister spoke to Outlook. Excerpts:
There is a perception that Environment Impact Assessments (EIA) aren’t up to the mark. What steps are you taking to ensure greater transparency?
Yes, EIAS are of indifferent quality. Very often they are cut-and-paste jobs and do not treat issues seriously. Asking the project proponents to get the EIA done themselves is an inherent drawback. Of course, such EIAS will necessarily give a clean chit. We have now introduced an accreditation system for consultants who do these EIAS in collaboration with the Quality Council of India. I am also thinking of a new system whereby the MOEF has a roster of consultants/ firms/institutions (like the CAG panel of auditors, for instance) and the MOEF will have the EIAS done.
The National Green...